Why You Need to Embrace an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Now
Did you know that everything you eat or drink impacts inflammation in your body? And that inflammation is the key to your health? I want to help you understand why and – most importantly – how an anti-inflammatory diet can put you on a path to your best health.
How Inflammation Works in Your Body
Imagine that you have an inflammatory faucet that gets turned up or down. This faucet is the representation of whether your biomechanical pathways are yielding end products that create more or less inflammation.
How Disease Links to Inflammation
We now know that all diseases of chronic aging are linked back to inflammation. Now, I am not talking about inflammation as in actual swelling in your body. I’m talking about inflammatory markers in your blood that drive processes of disease, aging, pain and inflammation.
These markers accelerate diseases of chronic aging such as degenerative arthritis, plaque in arteries, heart disease and diabetes. They also fuel autoimmune diseases such as MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as an increased likelihood of cancer.
In fact, one of the best predictors of overall health is the measurement of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is one of many inflammatory markers but is a very good one to estimate how inflamed your body is biochemically. You can ask your doctor to do this simple blood test as a predictor of risk for heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, degenerative diseases and cancer.
Understanding Omega 3 and Omega 6 to Make Better Choices
The best way to turn down your inflammatory pathways is by eating healthy foods. You may hear the terms pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory when referring to food.
Here, I hope to give you a few simple tips to make better choices. The first thing to understand is the difference between omega 3 and omega 6. Omega 3 and 6 are different types of fatty acids. They’re very powerful in flipping your biochemistry toward or away from inflammation.
You’ve probably heard many times that it’s healthy to take omega-3 supplements (fish oil) or to eat a lot of salmon. This is because omega 3s turn down that inflammatory faucet.
What you don’t hear about as much is omega 6. Omega 6 is found in processed vegetable oils, the feed we give our livestock, cereal grains and processed food. Omega 6 turns up that inflammatory faucet. This is why the high-grain, highly-processed American diet full of omega 6 has created a very unhealthy population! This same high-grain diet full of processed foods has led some people to go gluten-free.
Foods You Should and Should Not Eat
So, how can you make better choices to increase omega 3 and decrease omega 6 so you can turn that inflammatory faucet down? It all has to do with eating the right healthy whole foods.
Here’s a great list taken from a handout we have in the office from Anabolic Labs (ask for one the next time you come in):
Pro-inflammatory foods – Avoid these:
- All grains and grain products (including white bread, wheat bread, pasta, cereal, pretzels, crackers … anything made from grains and flours from grains. This includes most packaged foods and desserts.)
- Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) includes fried foods and most packaged foods
- Seed and legume oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, peanut, soybean oils)
- Margarine and mayonnaise
- Soda and sugar
- Dairy and soy
- Meat and eggs from grain fed animals
Anti-inflammatory foods – Eat plenty of these:
- All fruits and vegetables
- Red and sweet potatoes
- Fresh fish (except tilapia, catfish, basa and branzino which have high levels of omega 6)
- Meat, chicken, eggs from grass-fed animals
- Wild game (animals that feed on vegetation in the wild)
- Anti-inflammatory omega-3 eggs and/or egg whites
- Raw nuts
- Spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, dill, oregano, coriander, fennel, red chili pepper, basil and rosemary
- Oils and fats such as organic butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil
- Salad dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juices, mustard or spices
- Beverages: water, organic green tea, and if you choose to drink alcohol, red wine and stout beer
If you want to do your best to prevent chronic aging diseases – and who doesn’t – commit to an anti-inflammatory diet today. Start by eating the right healthy foods. Your body will thank you.
If you have any questions concerning your overall health, I’m here to help you. Just schedule an appointment today.